To a vast number of local film fans, the annual Mill Valley Film Festival is like a 10-day-long Roman feast, a cinematic bacchanal in which roasted pigs and hand-peeled grapes have been metaphorically substituted with movies, movies and more movies.
Running through mid-October, the 2018 MVFF—now in its 41st year—will screen more than 200 movies on eight different screens at four separate locations peppered between Mill Valley and San Rafael.
That’s a feast in anyone’s book.
And for what it’s worth, regular attendees of the festival’s many after-parties and receptions and galas know there is actual food and drink at the feast, served up with lavish style in the company of certified movie stars like this year’s special guests Rosamund Pike, Alfonso Cuarón, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard E. Grant and others.
But to a significant number of other film fans, the MVFF is less of a buffet, a banquet or a smorgasbord than it is a straight-up film fan’s treasure hunt.
To such folks, the annual event is a daredevil’s adventure. It’s an epic, 10-day-long, Indiana Jones–level feat of fearless, pulse-pounding, movie-watching thrills and chills, each new day seasoned from start to finish with little movie-making gems and unsung cinematic jewels. Many of the films are tucked away in the crevices and corners of the festival’s massive schedule and guidebook.
“We love people who see the festival that way, because so do we,” says Zoe Elton, MVFF’s director of programming. “And I personally love it when people say that what they love about our festival is discovering movies they’d never have had a chance to see anywhere else. It’s for those people that we spend a year searching the world, literally, for little treasures and priceless discoveries.
“But with so much good stuff packed into the festival’s 10 days, you really do have to do a bit of digging sometimes to find all of those riches.”
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